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Mendip Underground

The much awaited but never the less very welcome Mendip Underground is at long last on the market. Priced at £5.95 (the first edition was £2.95 in 1977) the 212 page guide is very good value, particularly in view of the improved presentation and increased number of photographs.

The guide has been extended by a brief description of those smaller sites of interest to cavers. This makes the book far more comprehensive and greatly increases it’s value as a reference work.

The authors, Dave Irwln and Tony Knibbs, have put in a great deal of effort and should be congratulated on producing an up-to-date and eminently readable guide.  The introduction has been kept to only eight pages, very desirable when the trend is towards increasing use of guidebooks to promote personal band wagons.

I have only two minor criticisms of the book.  It would be useful if a different type-face was used for descriptions of side passages, authors notes etc. The surveys are a little difficult to follow, particularly where complex multi-level systems are shown.  Cavers can buy detailed surveys of individual caves but I am sure the vast majority would be content with something only slightly more detailed.

No doubt an army of pedants will unearth a plethora of typographic and other errors.  The only two I am aware of are both on surveys. The Upper and Lower Series of Eastwater Cavern have been transposed, as have the entrances of Banwell Bone Cave and Banwell Stalactite Cave.

Richard Stevenson